Informed Families Blog

President's Message - March 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 31, 2017 at 9:29 AM

Two Things I've Learned About Prom & Graduation Season

It’s Party Time! Prom, Spring Break, Graduation... We want our kids to have fun and create memories – but we want them to be safe. Both can be achieved by serving the best thing parents can serve their children: common sense. Kids who start drinking before age 15 are 6 times more likely to develop alcohol problems as adults. And with 4,300 children dying each year due to underage drinking-related causes, we all need to help our kids celebrate safely.

The two things I’ve learned about Prom & Graduation Season are:

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Topics: President's Message, safe parties, safe homes smart parties, alcohol, parents

Star Ambassador: Martina Belotti of Monroe County

Posted by Informed Families on March 16, 2017 at 11:55 AM

After raising five kids and running a full time child care center for over two decades, Martina "Tina" Belotti has dedicated her life to helping all Monroe County children have a bright future. As an Informed Families Ambassador and professional counselor at Marathon Middle School and Marathon High School, Tina works to help students grow up safe, healthy and drug free through Informed Families’ four campaigns and several other initiatives.

“I originally heard about Informed Families over the years at different statewide conferences,” said Tina. “I am very happy to be an Ambassador and gain access to the resources they provide me. As a prevention counselor, I do a monthly presentation to students, in addition to various groups, and I typically have to seek out and be creative about obtaining materials. I want the kids to get excited about prevention on campus so it helps.”

From running lunchtime youth-led pledge campaigns and coordinating activities for Red Ribbon Week to delivering the evidence-based program Project Success and volunteering with a team of students for various events such as the 7 Mile Bridge Run, Tina possesses a seemingly endless supply of energy and passion for her work. However, her budget for programs and activities is extremely limited. Luckily, what Tina lacks in finances, she makes up for in human resources. Tina works with her daughter, Dr. Christina Belotti, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Marathon Middle School, to coordinate school-wide activities with 40 student volunteers, or Youth Ambassadors appropriately named the “Keys To Be The Change.”

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Topics: red ribbon week, ambassadors, campaigns, safe homes smart parties, parents

Help Your Teen Throw Fun (and Safe) High School Parties

Posted by Informed Families on March 10, 2017 at 8:00 AM

The idea of high school parties often conjures images of outrageous bashes you remember from John Hughes movies or other teen flicks from the ’80s and ’90s. Or, perhaps you recall parties from your own youth and the chaos that may have accompanied them. These memories may scare you into never trusting your teens to throw a party themselves—even one that’s supervised.

Make no mistake: Unsupervised high school parties are a terrible idea, often descending into Sixteen Candles- or American Pie-type anarchy and destruction. However, when properly planned and supervised, with clear rules in place, your teens can throw a party for their friends that is both fun and safe. Here are some tips on how to help them make that happen:

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Topics: high school, safe parties, safe homes smart parties

How to Set Family Rules For Holiday Parties

Posted by Informed Families on December 16, 2016 at 6:00 AM

The end of the year is a festive time for families. School is closed. Holidays are celebrated. Presents are exchanged. Parties are thrown.

Unfortunately, at those parties—especially unsupervised New Year’s Eve parties—teens may be tempted to drink or use drugs. And though kids hunkered down at one party might be preferable to kids driving from house to house on New Year’s Eve, any time that teens have access to alcohol, there will be risk. Establishing and enforcing family rules in regards to drinking is important year-round but takes on added urgency in December. Here is some advice for setting those rules and keeping your kids safe for the rest of 2016 and beyond:

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Topics: holidays, safe parties, safe homes smart parties

President's Message - April 2015

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 21, 2015 at 12:12 PM


Heroin. Meth. Cocaine. Ecstasy. While dangerous and scary, these are not the most popular drugs among our children. So what drugs are the most widely abused?

Drum roll please…the most widely abused drug is Alcohol, a legal drug.

People don’t change alcohol and drug use behaviors based on scare tactics or logic; they change when they start to see and acknowledge the cultural code that is pushing unhealthy behaviors.

People use drugs based on their perception of harm and the availability of the drug. So certainly alcohol is the most available and surely it won’t harm you; the government has legalized it!

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, data from a national survey of high school students shows that teens who receive a message from their parents that underage drinking is completely unacceptable are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages.

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Topics: President's Message, parenting, advice, safe parties, teenagers, safe homes smart parties, underage drinking, alcohol

President's Message - March 2015

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 11, 2015 at 8:01 PM


Helen & John Witty’s 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was rollerblading on a bike path when she was struck and instantly killed by a car full of teenagers who were under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. These kids were celebrating graduation at an unsupervised home prior to getting in the car. The driver’s future now included years of jail time and forever living with the knowledge that she killed someone. Think for a moment. You could be the parent of the victim or the parent of the driver of the car! Safe Homes Smart Parties® is not about someone else’s child.

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Topics: President's Message, parenting, advice, safe parties, teenagers, safe homes smart parties, underage drinking

Dad, Can I Throw A Party?

Posted by David Williams, Jr. on March 11, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Picture this.

Son asked father if he could have a party.

Father said, “yes.”

Father asked son if he could help with the planning.

Son said friends were taking care of it.

Two DJs came to set up for party in the back yard.

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Topics: parenting, communication, safe parties, teenagers, safe homes smart parties

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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